The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec Parent Guide
A film with a fun premise that bounces between frolic, farce, and flop.
Parent Movie Review
It’s 1911 and Parisian journalist Adele Blanc-Sec (Louise Bourgoin) is worried sick about her twin sister, Agathe (Laure de Clermont) who has been completely catatonic for five years after a tragic accident. Adele’s solution? Travel to Egypt, “borrow” the mummified remains of Pharoah Ramses II’s physician, and bring him back to life so he can use his mystical medical skills to cure her sister. Impossible, you say? Not when you are friends with the local mad scientist, Marie-Joseph Esperandieu (Jacky Nercessian), who has just proven his ability to reanimate those from the distant past by triggering the hatching of a pterodactyl egg at the nearby museum.
A movie with this kind of premise could go two ways: it could be a marvelous, quirky, lighthearted action romp or it could be a confusing muddle. The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec goes in both directions. Adele’s adventures in Egypt are reminiscent of Indiana Jones and the loony adventures in the rest of the film feel like the Tintin graphic novels come to life. But the film really suffers from an overall lack of direction. It’s not sure what kind of movie it wants to be or what kind of tone it wants to project. And it sets up plot elements that it can’t seem to follow up on. The pterodactyl, in particular, is poorly handled. Is it a comic element? Is it a terrifying monster? And its death, after Adele has gone to the trouble to tame it, feels decidedly anti-climactic. Instead of a tautly paced, tongue in cheek action thriller, the audience is left with a film that bounces between frolic, farce, and flop.
And this is too bad because The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec has real potential as a family adventure film. The movie has limited sexual content – a few moments of minor verbal innuendo and a brief bathing scene where a woman’s breasts are visible. There is limited smoking and drinking on the part of the main character and very little swearing, aside from terms of deity. The production’s biggest issue, as expected in an action adventure film, is violence. There is a fair bit of violence, but some of it is almost cartoonish, and it is almost all highly sanitized. Even the mummies who are brought back to life are helpful and friendly and will only frighten the most sensitive of viewers.
Parents considering this film should also note that dialogue is in French with English subtitles, which will significantly reduce its audience. Again, this is unfortunate because there aren’t enough action films with strong female lead roles. Adele, despite her bizarre choice of medical care, has potential as a leading lady – she’s plucky, indomitable, determined, focused, and has a real zest for life. It’s too bad she’s in such an ordinary film. She deserves better.Directed by Luc Besson. Starring Louise Bourgoin, Jacky Nercessian, Nicolas Giraud, Gilles Lellouche. Running time: 107 minutes. Theatrical release April 14, 2010. Updated February 3, 2019
Watch the trailer for The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec rated PG? The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec is rated PG by the MPAA for some violence, brief sensuality, and rude humor
Violence: A main character briefly explains the Egyptian practice of embalming. A man points a gun at a woman. She is later put in front of a firing squad. A man sets fire to another man’s hand. A man is strangled by an enchanted necklace he is trying to steal. The floor falls out from under another man: his death is assumed. A woman throws a lit cigarette into tar, which causes a fire. A man utters death threats against a woman. A pterodactyl repeatedly stabs through the roof of a car. It crashes off a bridge and the occupants drown: no bodies are seen. The pterodactyl rampages around a man’s apartment, causing significant destruction. A woman injects a sedative into a man against his will as part of a jailbreak. Mummies are brought back from the dead – they are harmless. A catatonic woman is shown braced in bed: the image is unnerving. A man accidentally shoots a sheep: it is shown twitching. A man is accidentally killed by a guillotine – the death is not shown. A pterodactyl is shot; it later dies. A woman is shown falling on a hatpin, which pierces through her head: the point of the pin and a bit of blood are shown on her forehead.
Sexual Content: A woman’s breasts are briefly seen as she sits in the bathtub. There is minor sexual innuendo. Women are dancing the can-can: tights and petticoats are shown. A drunken minor character urinates on the street. A man and woman have a coded discussion about sexual arousal.
Profanity: Fewer than a dozen terms of deity. A moderate profanity is used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: The main character smokes on a few occasions. She also drinks alcohol. A minor character is shown very drunk twice.
Page last updated February 3, 2019
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec Parents' Guide
Do you think anyone should have the power to bring people back from the dead? Why or why not?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Georges Remi, writing under the pseudonym Herge, published 24 comic albums, starring the teenage reporter Tintin. His madcap adventures around the world were enormously popular and the books were translated into multiple languages.
Dinosaur lovers will appreciate the lavish illustrations in James Gurney’s Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time.
Viewers who enjoyed Adele’s adventures in Egypt will get a kick out of the adventures of Amelia Peabody. Created by author Elizabeth Peters, Amelia is featured in 20 novels, beginning with Crocodile on the Sandbank.
Another strongminded female character is found in Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy series, featuring a recent immigrant to 19th century America who decides to become a private investigator. Murphy’s Law is the first in the series.
Related home video titles:
The English language film, Adventures of Tintin, brings the adventures of the French comic book hero to the big screen. The young journalist’s adventures across land and sea will appeal to older kids and teens.
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark is the ultimate campy adventure movie with scary scenes in Egyptian tombs.
Dinosaurs are brought back to life, with predictable results in Jurassic Park.
Mummies star in a comedic animated film suitable for children in Under Wraps. Siblings Danny and Eleanor need to figure out how to undo a curse that has turned their parents into mummies.